The holidays are coming. Are you prepared for the season’s cyberthreats?

The holidays are coming. Are you prepared for the season’s cyberthreats?

With the holiday season just around the corner, businesses are bustling with activity, preparing for the surge of customers and rushing to meet deadlines before the year ends. However, amid the festive atmosphere, cybercriminals are also gearing up for a season of mischief.

What are the most common cyberthreats during the holidays?

Businesses like yours need to watch out for the following holiday-themed cyberthreats:

Phishing scams

Phishing scams often involve emails disguised as legitimate communications from banks, credit card companies, and delivery services. Cybercriminals send such emails in an attempt to trick unsuspecting victims into divulging sensitive information or installing malware on their devices.

During the holidays, these scams can take on a festive twist. Be on the lookout for emails about:

  • Gift cards and giveaways: Phishing emails may offer enticing holiday gifts or prizes or claim to be from well-known brands, luring you into clicking on malicious links or providing personal details.
  • Shipping notifications: Cybercriminals take advantage of the surge in online shopping by targeting people expecting deliveries. Watch out for emails with fake shipping updates, as they may contain infected links or malware disguised as tracking information.
  • Donation solicitations: Scammers may exploit the spirit of giving by posing as charity organizations. Be cautious of emails requesting donations, especially if they pressure you to act immediately. Make sure to research the charity thoroughly before donating.

Ransomware attacks

Ransomware encrypts your critical data, holding it hostage until you pay a ransom demand. These attacks pose a significant threat to businesses, particularly during the holidays. Cybercriminals exploit the pressure businesses face to quickly resume operations during this critical time, increasing their chances of securing a ransom payment.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks

Cybercriminals capitalize on the increased online activity during the holiday season by launching DDoS attacks on eCommerce platforms and financial institutions. DDoS attacks flood websites and online services with traffic, overwhelming them and making them inaccessible to legitimate users, thereby disrupting critical operations.

How can businesses safeguard against holiday cyberthreats?

To ensure your business remains secure during the holidays, implement the following strategies:

1. Educate your employees

Train your employees to recognize and properly respond to common cyberthreats, such as phishing emails, so they won’t fall victim to these. You should also teach them good habits that will keep them safe online, such as:

  • Using strong and unique passwords
  • Being wary of clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails
  • Avoiding connecting to public Wi-Fi networks
  • Keeping software and devices up to date

2. Build a multilayered defense system

Create a holistic cyber defense by implementing a combination of security solutions, such as:

  • Anti-malware software: Anti-malware solutions scan, detect, and block malicious software, including viruses, spyware, and ransomware.
  • Firewalls: Firewalls act as a barrier, filtering incoming and outgoing traffic to block suspicious activity and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Threat detection systems: A threat detection system continuously monitors the network for potential threats so you can quickly identify and respond to them before they cause significant damage.
  • Multifactor authentication (MFA): Go beyond passwords and require users to verify their identity with an additional factor, such as a code sent to their phone or a fingerprint scan. This significantly makes it harder for unauthorized users to gain access to your accounts and data.
  • Encryption: Encryption scrambles data into an unreadable format, ensuring its protection even if unauthorized parties manage to get hold of it.
  • Data backup and recovery: Regularly back up your critical data to a secure, off-site location to ensure its quick recovery should a data loss incident occur.

3. Have a plan for responding to cyberattacks

Develop a clear and actionable incident response plan, which outlines the steps you should take in the event of a cyberattack, including containment procedures, communication strategies, and data recovery protocols.

Make sure to regularly test this plan to ensure that your incident response team can take action efficiently and effectively in the face of a real attack.

4. Partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP)

An MSP has a team of security specialists who can help protect your business from cyberthreats this holiday season and beyond.

Quicktech, a leading MSP in Vancouver, offers a comprehensive range of cybersecurity solutions and services, all for an affordable monthly fee. Book a FREE consultation with us today.